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Bizzare & Odd

Skeletons in the Closet: Secrets of Famous Families

Skeletons in the Closet: Secrets of Famous Families 1

The Bushes

Before the Bush family was the very picture of all-American do-gooderism, they were aiding the Nazis during World War II, according to The Guardian. George W. Bush’s grandfather, Senator Prescott Bush, directed the Union Banking Corporation, whose assets were seized under the Trading with the Enemy Act in 1942. The Guardian reports that UBC represented the U.S. interests of Fritz Thyssen, a steel and coal baron who funded Adolf Hitler’s campaign in the 1930s. Though Senator Bush never confessed Nazi sympathies, the Guardian investigation appeared to prove Bush was well-aware of UBC’s activities with the Nazis.

Skeletons in the Closet Secrets of Famous Families


The Jacksons

Before Michael Jackson was accused (and acquitted) of child molestation, there was another scandal in the Jackson house. Michael’s father, Joe Jackson was accused by his daughter La Toya of abuse in her autobiography, La Toya: Growing Up in the Jackson Family. She alleged that Joe beat his kids with his iron fists and sexually abused LaToya and her sister, Rebbie. Joe adamantly denied the allegations. He has never been charged and La Toya and her father did reconcile.



William Rockefeller was a shameful secret his wealthy sons tried to keep hidden. Rockefeller was a snake oil salesman and con artist who sold “cancer cures” to women door-to-door. He married Eliza, John D. Rockefeller’s mother, but later had two children by his mistress/maid. Then he left his family and took off for parts unknown, marrying a woman 25 years his junior while still married to Eliza. To round off his scumbag career, he was also indicted for rape. Joseph Pulitzer offered an $8,000 reward for information about the patriarch and his checkered past, which uncovered some clues Rockefeller’s sons had kept under wraps.


The Barrymore Family

Long before Drew Barrymore had her first whiff of cocaine, her family was paving the way for her admitted drug use and mental breakdown. Her father, John Barrymore, was arrested multiple times for domestic violence and public drunkenness. Drew’s great-grandfather, actor Maurice Barrymore, was committed to the mental health ward at Bellevue after he suddenly became violent while performing live theater. He was diagnosed with madness caused by syphilis, which was then incurable.


The Secret Royal Family Members

Born with unspecified medical conditions that left them unable to speak, Nerissa and Katherine Bowes-Lyon were dumped on an asylum in 1941 when they were 27 and 15, respectively. The girls were nieces of the Queen Mother and cousins of the reigning Queen Elizabeth, yet were hidden and even declared dead in Burke’s Peerage, a guide to the U.K.’s royal and titled families. In an age where learning disabilities were not understood, the girls were considered “embarrassments” to the royal family and hidden away. The truth finally came to light in 1986, after Naerissa’s death. Katherine is believed to be still alive.

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The Kennedy Babysitter Affair

After Marilyn Monroe’s trysts with both John and Robert Kennedy, it comes as no surprise that sex scandals run in the family. But a lesser-known scandal involved Michael Kennedy, Representative Joe Kennedy’s brother and campaign manager. In 1997, it was rumored that the married Michael had had an affair with his children’s babysitter, possibly when she was underage. Kennedy passed three lie detector tests insisting the girl had been 16 and therefore of age. The then 19-year-old refused to aid in the investigation and the case dropped.


The Rothschilds

The Rothschild dynasty is rumored to have ties with the Illuminati, but we won’t know if that is true until the ultra-secret organization wants us to know. In the meantime, the exploits of Charles Rothschild’s first child, Baroness Pannonica “Nica” de Koenigswarter should suffice. Known as the bebop baroness, Nica’s exploits included carousing with Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk. Parker was found dead in Nica’s her hotel room, though charges were never filed in his death. Nica and Monk were later arrested for marijuana possession. The baroness even claimed full criminal responsibility for the episode, thus keeping her favorite musician out of jail.

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The Nazi King Edward VIII

In 1938, King Edward VIII abdicated the throne rather than break off his relationship with twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. But the greater scandal came when was found to be a Nazi sympathizer. Hitler believed that Edward was a friend and, were he to have stayed in power, the countries could have joined forces and strengthened the Axis. It was because of Edward’s Nazi leanings that he was stationed in the Bahamas when World War II broke out, for fear that he would endanger the country.


The Not-So-Secret Kennedy Story

The Kennedy family’s drinking and drug problems are well documented. RFK, Jr. was arrested for heroin possession in 1983 and David Kennedy died from a drug overdose in 1984. As Christopher Kennedy Lawford put it:”Alcoholism didn’t run in my family, it galloped.” The Chappaquiddick incident from 1969, in which Senator Ted Kennedy drove his car off a bridge, was perhaps never a “secret,” but it will forever be shrouded in mystery. Kennedy survived but passenger Mary Jo Kopechne did not. It took Kennedy nine hours to report the crash and he plead guilty to leaving the scene of an accident. The Senator was never indicted in Kopechne’s death.


Schwarzenegger’s Nazi Dad

Ex-governor/actor/bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger is an imposing man. It turns out his father, Gustav, was also scary, but in a much creepier way. Documents obtained in 2003 showed that the Austrian police chief applied to join the Nazi Party of his own volition in March of 1938 — before Austria was annexed. In 1940, he became a member of the Sturmabteilung, Nazi storm troopers known for their involvement in the Kristallnacht riots. Despite his links with both the Nazis and the SA, there is no record of Gustav being indicted with any war crimes.



Winston Churchill had a brother, Jack, although he was goes virtually unmentioned in Winston’s autobiography. Instead, he was referred to as “another boy.” Why Winston attempted to erase his younger brother from history is unknown, but historians speculate that Winston was ashamed of his brother because Jack was illegitimate. According to biographers John and Celia Lee, Jack was the result of an affair between Lady Randolph Churchill and Evelyn Boscawen, the 7th Viscount Falmouth. Worse: Lady Randolph stole most of her children’s trust fund to finance her socialite lifestyle, which included purportedly acting as mistress to the Prince of Wales.


The Rockefellers’ Wartime Profiteering

If it weren’t for wars, the Rockefellers might not be what they are today. During the Civil War, the budding businessman, John D. Rockefeller, sold grain, hay and meats to the Union army at inflated prices. He invested the money he made in Samuel Andrews’ oil refinery, which was the start of Standard Oil. During World War II, the Rockefeller family profited from both the Allies, who used Standard Oil, and the Axis, who also used Standard Oil.

The Rockefellers also earned big money thanks to one of Standard Oil’s largest stockholders: I.G. Farben, a German chemical industry conglomerate that manufactured Zyklon B, the cyanide-based pesticide used in Nazi death camps.


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